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Within Reason: Rationality and Human Behavior

Calne, Donald B.

ISBN 10: 0756759137 / ISBN 13: 9780756759131
Published by Diane Pub Co
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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0756759137 Near fine in near fine dj but for some spots top edge and fore edge finger smudges. Bookseller Inventory # 0814H661956

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Title: Within Reason: Rationality and Human ...

Publisher: Diane Pub Co

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience have revolutionized our understanding of the human mind and human cognition. But what implications do these new findings have for the place of reason--long considered the crowning human faculty that ensured transcendent purpose--in human life? This is the profoundly important question Donald Calne, a leading neurologist and clinician, addresses in Within Reason.

His conclusions are startling, disturbing, and of immense potential usefulness. Offering both a general explanation of the way the mind works and a compelling humanistic defense of the value of science and rationality, Calne shows that reason has no direct links to the brain's pathways of pleasure and satisfaction that motivate our behavior. Reason is simply a powerful tool put into the service of goals it cannot determine or change. Within Reason brilliantly and succinctly delineates how reason--through its deployment in all domains of human endeavor, from science to religion, from ethics, commerce, and government to art and music--has enabled mankind to achieve dominance over all other forms of life without providing any specifiable content, beyond survival, to the meaning of existence.  Echoing the great religious and philosophical traditions but written from the perspective of neuroscience, Within Reason offers a new and fascinating picture of the role of rationality in both evolution and daily consciousness.


Neurology researcher and clinician Donald Calne compares defining reason to assembling an incomplete jigsaw puzzle: we don't have all the pieces, and the pieces we do have don't always fit together well. But that doesn't stop him from setting out on the ambitious task of surveying our current understanding of reason and the historical role it has played for our species.

Within Reason begins with a simple--and in some ways counterintuitive--definition of reason, calling it a mere tool, not a motivator of humanity but an enabler. A powerful and versatile tool to be sure, but one whose purpose is specific to helping us get what we want, not revealing why it is that we want it. With this supposition, Calne methodically dissects reason's role in such spheres as ethics, government, language, and religion, supporting each assertion with historical anecdotes and the writing and research of others.

If Within Reason is any indication, Donald Calne would be charming dinner company. While you might not agree with every point he makes, you'd never be disappointed by the conversation. --Paul Hughes

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